Do you remember the TV show, “Growing Pains,” which aired from 1985 to 1992? In the show, the kids, Mike, Ben, Carol and Crissie, caused all sorts of mayhem for their parents Jason and Maggie Seaver, but the family always managed to sort everything out and come together in the end.
In the show, the term “growing pains” alludes to the difficulties of raising children. But growing pains also refers to neuralgic pains that children feel in their legs. Often these pains occur at night and are usually gone by morning. But are growing pains real?
While doctors say there’s no evidence that growth hurts, these pains are common in children between ages 3 and 12. Children may feel an ache or throbbing sensation in both legs – often in the front of the thighs, the calves or behind the knees. Sometimes the pain may cause the child to wake up in the middle of the night.
Doctors aren’t sure what causes growing pains, but they think children who suffer from these aches may have a lower pain threshold. Running, climbing or jumping during the day also seems to increase the risk of leg pain at night – likely due to muscle injury or strain from overuse. However, for most kids, these pains should stop once your child reaches puberty.
- Massage – Gently rub your child’s legs.
- Heating pad – Apply a heating pad set to low to your child’s legs. Remove the heating pad once your child falls asleep. Also, a warm bath before bedtime can ease muscle discomfort.
- Leg stretches – Help your child stretch their quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, ankles and feet.
- Pain relievers – Give your child an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Avoid giving them aspirin due to an increased risk of Reye’s syndrome.
Growing pains are relatively harmless. However, if your child experiences persistent pain that also occurs during the day, and the pain is accompanied by fever, joint tenderness or swelling, difficulty walking or limping, rash and/or weakness, take your child to the doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Foot Pain Isn’t Normal for Children
Generally, the tissues in a child’s feet are more elastic and resilient. Therefore, they’re less prone to injury, except for the heel growth plate. During foot growth spurts, the heel bone may grow faster than the underlying muscles and tendons. This can cause tension and tightness in the child’s foot. The heel can become more rigid, putting pressure on the growth plate. Since the Achilles tendon attaches to the growth place in the heel, it can tighten. Over time, continual stress on the Achilles tendon can damage the growth plate, causing pain, swelling and tenderness. This kind of severe heel pain in children is called Sever’s disease. While this condition is not permanent, it needs to be properly diagnosed and treated by a certified professional.
Usually this condition can be prevented if the child wears an arch support, like the ezWalker® Custom Performance Orthotic, which raises the child’s heel a little. These custom orthotics will help your child’s feet function more efficiently while improving their posture and balance. Additionally, they’ll help reduce the risk of foot injuries if your child is active in sports.
Custom foot orthotics are usually recommended for children 3 years and older. These orthotics will need to be replaced regularly as your child grows – usually every 6 months or as the child outgrows his/her shoes. Children should continue to wear custom orthotics until the growth plates in their feet are set. This usually occurs at ages 14 or 15 for girls and ages 16 or 17 for boys.
For more information on children’s ezWalker® Custom Performance Orthotics, contact the WalkEZStore.com.
Because … when your child’s feet feel good, they’ll feel good.
Note: If foot pain persists, you should take your child to see your doctor. This may indicate a more serious condition. Proper diagnosis and treatment may be required.